MIAMI — Florida high school seniors again scored below the national average on the SAT college entrance exam, with the class of 2010 scoring slightly lower than 2009 did.
Test results released Monday show Florida students scoring an average of 496 in critical reading, 498 in math and 479 in writing, out of a maximum 800 points in each subject. Combined, Florida's score of 1473 was two points lower than the state scored in 2009 and 36 points below the national combined average of 1509, which was the same as a year ago. The state scored below average in every category: the national averages were 501 in reading, 516 in math and 492 in writing.
A record 102,741 of students took the exam in Florida, about 2,500 more students than 2009.
Some good news for Florida came from minority students, who generally scored better than their counterparts nationally.
Among racial and ethnic groups in Florida, students of Mexican heritage made the largest gains in each subject, jumping 10 points in writing and 9 in reading. Black and Hispanic students overall achieved higher scores in math and reading than their respective racial and ethnic groups nationwide.
It was that news that state Education Commissioner Eric Smith focused on. The College Board, which administers the test, said 2010 was Florida's most diverse group to take the test; 48.5 percent come from minority groups, up from 47 percent last year.
As in other years, trends regarding the relationships between family income and level of parental education held true; students from the poorest families recorded the lowest scores and those from the wealthiest had the highest — a gap of more than 100 points in all three subject areas.
Alan Richard, a spokesman for the Southern Regional Education Board, said that while important, the SAT and other college admission tests are not an overall indicator of a state's educational progress. He said SAT scores have generally shifted downward over the last few year, a trend that holds true in much of the Southeast.